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Unread 01-19-2021, 08:18 AM   #1
jeb111
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Default Discontinued use of markings

Just wondering why the German military stopped the practice of placing unit markings on their firearms after 1916? I assume it was because it seemed to be impractical but was there another reason?
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Unread 01-19-2021, 09:06 AM   #2
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The Germans ended the practice of unit marking for security reasons.
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Unread 01-19-2021, 09:36 AM   #3
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Yes, it's like putting the GPS coordinates of your secret base on the side of your tank.
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Unread 01-19-2021, 10:09 AM   #4
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For WW1 it might have ended in 1916 - but marking was used through the weimar years

army and police
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Unread 01-19-2021, 11:29 AM   #5
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Yeah sure that makes a lot of sense!
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Unread 01-19-2021, 11:06 PM   #6
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And some 1917 and 1918 lugers are found with unit markings- not everyone
got the memo.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 01:32 AM   #7
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Considering that armorers put the markings on the guns at unit level, it's possible that - as Don suggests - not everyone got the message OR someone in the command structure of the unit insisted that their guns be marked. Why we may never know but we do know that a small number of 1917 and 1918 Lugers were unit marked.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 07:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubs View Post
Considering that armorers put the markings on the guns at unit level, it's possible that - as Don suggests - not everyone got the message OR someone in the command structure of the unit insisted that their guns be marked. Why we may never know but we do know that a small number of 1917 and 1918 Lugers were unit marked.
Very interesting, I originally thought that it was too impractical to mark weapons because when they went back for repair it would seem that it would be a logistical headache to return it back to its unit.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 02:15 PM   #9
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That would depend on how high up the food chain it had to go for repairs.

And a thought: could the unit-marked 1917 and 1918 pistols seen have been older frames with newer uppers, force-matched in serial number during rebuild?
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Unread 01-20-2021, 04:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post
That would depend on how high up the food chain it had to go for repairs.

And a thought: could the unit-marked 1917 and 1918 pistols seen have been older frames with newer uppers, force-matched in serial number during rebuild?
Something to think about for sure.
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Unread 01-21-2021, 12:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post
That would depend on how high up the food chain it had to go for repairs.

And a thought: could the unit-marked 1917 and 1918 pistols seen have been older frames with newer uppers, force-matched in serial number during rebuild?
Anything is possible; but ones I have seen were matching and not reworked or
renumbered pistols.

Everyone just didn't get the message or chose not to comply- as Doubs said.
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Unread 01-22-2021, 12:32 PM   #12
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I have seen some 17 and 18 with new unit mark create during those years , new regiments made with some unit subsistant from destroyed regiment
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Unread 03-14-2021, 05:57 PM   #13
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I just bought a 1916 DWM Luger from an estate yesterday (3-13-21). It has unit markings on the front of the grip.

Lock and Load!
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Unread 03-15-2021, 10:39 AM   #14
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Which reminds me of a tale that may or may not be true. When the British army changed the dress code to not require/prohibit pig-tails (an early man-ponytail) they also changed the uniform code regs. With the pig-tail, uniform jackets had a small tab or triangle of leather sewn onto the collar, to keep the hair oil (applied to make it behave, and "look good") out of the collar wool.

At least one regiment received the order to nix the pig-tail, but did not get the order to remove the leather patch. So they proudly kept sewing leather collar patches on their uniforms until the regs caught up with them.

I can see some by-the-book senior NCO or officer insisting "Until I get it in writing, I'm not going to stop doing what earlier orders require me to do." Or, a senior NCO in the armorers unit, who got rotated back before the change (wounded, convalescing, whatever) and came back after, stubbornly insisted on marking until someone told him to knock it off.

Wars are usually messy affairs.
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Unread 03-15-2021, 12:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sweeney View Post

Wars are usually messy affairs.
I think that is engraved in stone someplace, but without the "usually".
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Unread 03-15-2021, 01:50 PM   #16
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The explanation above makes sense! If lost or sent for repair, they knew where to return it!! Also to keep track of how many went where or returned!
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Unread 03-15-2021, 02:24 PM   #17
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Did unit marking begin in 1913> I have 2 unmarked and one marked '7. T .3. 51.' Telegraph Unit
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Unread 03-16-2021, 08:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cirelaw View Post
Did unit marking begin in 1913> I have 2 unmarked and one marked '7. T .3. 51.' Telegraph Unit
Not all pistols were marked, so having unmarked luger pistols of any date is not unusual.
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Unread 03-16-2021, 10:59 AM   #19
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The concept of concealment permeated the German thinking as they realized that they had to dodge the inspectors for the IMKK (Versailles Treaty Inter Military Control Commission).... While the police pistols were authorized for Simson manufacture and rework (and were being unit marked) in the Weimar era, other activities at the arms factories were not permitted.

There is documentation of one of these dodges of inspectors in Mauser during that period. They were not permitted to make "military" caliber pistols for commercial sale, so they designated their C-96 pistols as being "C-96 Pistol model .30 Mauser" in the books which were audited by IMKK staff in Berlin. The actual pistols were "C-96 Pistol model .30 Mauser with 9mm barrel" as found in factory records and being manufactured in Oberndorf. I expect that when IMKK inspectors showed up in Oberndorf, those "special" orders were set aside somewhere.

By 1934, after the Nazi government had decided to ignore the IMKK and Versailles Treaty restrictions, concealment codes really came into use. First was the "K" in 1934 and "G" in 1935 for date codes, and the use of "S" as part of the manufacturer concealment "S/42" to imply some relationship with SImson - the IMKK authorized manufacturer of pistols under the Versailles Treaty. I suspect handguns and specifically controlled items were the early products to get concealment codes, which eventually spread widely in their contracting.

You can see that by then, unit markings had been abandoned for several years with security and concealment of the movement of military units (and eventually the formation and migration of police agencies) a reasonable motivation.
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